"The Bonk Approach to Testing"
I have 2 rules for assessing my trainees at the end of a course.
The first is: test them on what they already know. If they get the test right, which they should if I've taught them well, they'll feel good with themselves but not particularly motivated to learn any further.
The second is: test them on something they've still got to learn. That brings them back down to earth and reminds them that they don't know it all.
I call this the Bonk approach to testing and learnt about it from Harvey Mackay. Let me explain some more.
Professor Bonk is professor of Introductory Chemistry at Duke University in the United States. His course has been taught for years and is affectionately known as "Bonkistry".
One year, two male students were taking chemistry on Professor Bonk's course. They were doing very well as they came up to the final exams and both were predicted to earn "A" grades.
They were so confident that the two of them decided to escape for the weekend before the finals and party with friends at the University of Virginia.
The party was so good that they both had hangovers on the Sunday, slept all day and didn't make it back to Duke until early on the Monday morning.
Rather than taking the final then, they explained to Professor Bonk that they had driven up to the University of Virginia for the weekend and had planned to come back in time to study but they had a flat tyre on the way back and didn't have a spare, so they didn't get back to campus until late Sunday night.
Professor Bonk thought this over and then agreed that they could take the final exams the following day. The two friends were elated and relieved. They studied hard that night and went in the next day. Professor Bonk placed them in separate rooms, handed them each a test booklet, looked at his watch and told them to begin. They looked at the first problem, which was something simple about molarity and solutions and was worth 5 points.
"Cool," each of them thought. "This is going to be easy." They did that problem and then turned the page.
They were unprepared, however, for what they saw on the next page. It simply said: "Which tyre? (95 points)"